Psychedelic Light and Sound at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Calling it a success would be an understatement for exactly how well Psychedelic Light and Sound went down at Cheer Up Charlie’s last weekend. Psychedelic Light and Sound, already in planning for their next event, could be called a music series, organization, or collective. Whatever it is, working musicians Robbie D Love, Buddy Hachar, and Levi Murray (all members of participating band Deep Space) behind the mini-festival that included numerous retail vendors, 15 local bands, and elaborate light displays deserve the full attention of music fans in Austin, TX.

Psychedelic Light and Sound offered a tremendous diversity of facets with which to be impressed, but some of the basic operations of the evening may be among the most important. Nothing’s more annoying than an unorganized festival that runs off schedule. The fact that an inaugural event ran with such efficiency and the perfect orchestration of sound, lights, and setting are testaments to the professionalism of the organizers.

As the festival got underway, Sunken Ships screenprinting was hard at work creating custom t-shirts on-site, Laced With Romance Vintage had shoppers circulating through their retail, Beanblossom Soaps was keeping attendees in supply of handmade, vegan, organic soaps, and Kohana coffee was providng iced beverages of the caffeinated persuasion.

Of course, the music of the festival must be the most vital element, and the talent and breadth of styles involved was staggering. While psychedelic music possesses some common denominators, the variation within that realm is wide. Amazingly, PLS incorporated sounds ranging from country to funk, electronica to 70s rock. The night seemed to grow progressively heavier throughout its duration. Ole Salt and John Wesley Coleman got things started outside with twinges of country twang mixed into their psychedelic rock. Inside, Freak the Mighty and Viracochas kept things pretty true to heavy instrumentation and reverbed distortion.

Lean Hounds’ electronic psychedelia stood out as one of the most unique sets of the evening with their carefully crafted layers of keys, guitars, and effects. The group operates as an integral part of Pau Wau Records’ roster. After three-piece Starma performed, Pau Wau had a presence later in the evening with the psych-country stylings of Chris Catalena and the Native Americans who have worked with Pau Wau on a compilation and plan to release a full-length through the imprint later in the year.

Dead Peasants, fronted by none other than Deep Space member and PLS organizer Levi Murray, preceded Smoking White on the indoor stage with cacophonous sets alike while Cerise kept things alive on the outside stage. Cerise, with her gold metallic eyeliner and stoic stage presence set took her place as the first female performer of the evening. However, she would not be the last, as Black Tabs played the penultimate set on the indoor stage with heavy guitars and wailing female vocal lines.

Deep Space played second-to-last outside and completely demolished their set, rocking hard through their explosive set. By that time, night had completely fallen and the light spectacle was in full effect. Buddy Hachar’s drums were tight and Robbie Love was clearly riding the high of putting on an awesome event as he danced energetically, headbanging, swinging his dreads to the beat. The group’s performance was defined and set apart by their raw energy.

The Wolf closed the outside stage down with their blending of decades of rock. At times, they dip into 50s rhythms and utilize 70s guitar tones providing new takes on psychedelia with these fusions. After GAUCHE finished up the night inside, excitement about a special guest had spread throughout the crowd. That hope came to fruition when Christian Bland of the Black Angels began setting up on the inside stage with Robbie Love of Deep Space. Bland gave brief explanations of the chord structures of each song before getting underway and letting his backing band pick up for the jam.

Wise fans of music, psychedelia, and true DIY festivities will keep their eyes and ears open for news on the horizon regarding Psychedelic Light and Sound’s next event, for which bands have already begun to be booked.

All photos below by Bryan Parker and Holly Griffin.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and is working on his first book, a volume in the 33 1/3 series.

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